Posted by: Lauren--NY | June 19, 2009


Stephen Colbert tries to process this past week in news: “Boy, those Iranians are really mad at Letterman.”

This week, our wonderful President Barack Obama displayed some pretty fantastic cat-like skills in killing a housefly with his bare hands during a CNBC interview. I’ll embed the clip for those of you who didn’t catch the endless replays on our beloved 24-hour cable news channels (read: you’re not nearly as nerdy and pathetic as I am).

Of course, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) saw an opportunity to create another media circus starring them, and claiming that they were asked for comment, which is probably true (they actually claimed that the media was clamoring for their thoughts on the matter “in droves,” which I don’t believe for a New York minute), they actually criticized the President of the United States of America for killing a common housefly. They melodramatically called it an “execution” and say that it is proof that he is “imperfect,” and are sending him a more humane insect-catching device.

These histrionics are typical of this insane fringe organization that causes normal and excellent animal-rights organizations such as The Humane Society and the ASPCA to have that much more work to do to gain ground with the public. This is one of their less damaging manipulations of the media, despite the fact that it’s pretty disrespectful to criticize the president merely to gain headlines, and even more disrespectful to do so when there is such discord happening in Iran.

More damaging PR stunts have been the famous 2003 incident “Holocaust on Your Plate,” when these imbeciles compared the Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews to the killing of animals for human consumption. According to the CNN article I just linked, they used genuine images of starving and dying people from Nazi death camps, and had the audacity to call upon the Jewish community to support the campaign.

There are various levels of grotesqueness to be found in a typical PETA publicity stunt, and though to my knowledge there were none so gross as the aforementioned, there was the time they used fake slaughtered humans in their ads and there was the time they asked Ben & Jerry’s to use human breast milk in their ice cream instead of cow’s milk.

The “PETA Kids” portion of their website is full of disturbing imagery and upsetting language–my favorite being the classic “Your Mommy Kills Animals” comic book and Thanksgiving-inspired “Mama Kills Animals” game, which traumatize kids by trying to indoctrinate them with the idea that their mothers are callous murderers (brainwash them while they’re young, right, PETA?). They also have a history of highly disturbing publicity stunts aimed at children.

The problem with all of this is that they do sometimes make good points–what they say about the fur factories and the inhumane ways in which animals are slaughtered for fur are true. However, when they do make a decent point, nobody listens, because they’re not famous for doing that; they’re famous for being idiots. By subscribing to the old, very inaccurate adage “all publicity is good publicity,” (tell that to Eliot Spitzer and Rod Blagojevich), and stooping so low to keep themselves in the headlines, they have destroyed their credibility and severely hurt the credibility of anyone who considers himself to be an animal rights advocate of any kind.

There is a way to make this sort of media manipulation backfire so perhaps they’ll think twice before doing it again. There is a superior organization that PETA despises that deserves your donations, volunteer hours and promotion much more–Heifer International. This excellent non-profit provides livestock to needy people in both developed and lesser developed nations–providing milk and eggs for their own consumption and for profit. They also train people in entrepreneurial skills in true “teach a man to fish” style, providing them with the means to earn their own money and build their own self-worth. They teach farming and environmentalism. They also secure promises from the recipients of gift animals so that the offspring of these animals will be passed on to more people in need. They have strict animal well-being guidelines. Find out ways to support them at

Here’s a video in which Jane Kaczmarek of “Malcolm in the Middle” fame talks about Heifer International on “The Bonnie Hunt Show” (cue the video to 2:10):

This organization is unique and brilliant in its approach, and because of its lack of vegan-friendly activities, is on PETA’s blacklist. The best way to make some real good out of PETA’s irresponsible media manipulation, and the best way to make it backfire, is to respond by supporting Heifer International. Support them in any way you can–buy gift animals, volunteer, or just promote them–on your own website or blog, on your Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth, whatever. Just make sure you make it clear that you’re doing so not just because Heifer International is an outstanding non-profit, but because PETA is a PITA (“pain in the ass,” for those of you in the back row). Let’s try to get their names together in as many search engine results as possible. Give them the publicity that they want, but show them that all publicity is not always good.

If you want to donate livestock in PETA’s name, their organization headquarters is:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
(757) 622-7382

Creative Commons License
The Grotto Blog by Lauren E. Moccio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at



  1. Hello. Very interesting site and you lead a very interesting discussion. There is a nice atmosphere here and I’m sure I will often read your posts.
    From time to time I will also try to write something interesting.

  2. Great post! I’ll subscribe right now wth my feedreader software!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: